I’m venturing a little outside of my personal experience here. I’ve researched Regency menswear, but not made anything. So, this post will be me learning as I go, too!
Here’s a rough drawing of what a regency gentleman would have worn for day-wear. Formal eveningwear would have been similar, but black coat, white waistcoat and knee-breeches, white stockings and black shoes. Something like this, though, would have sufficed for nearly any other time of the day.
|Pardon the cutting off of limbs. I didn’t have the mental energy to make those look even somewhat realistic. 😉|
The man’s shirt was worn next to his skin and was loose, with large sleeves gathered at the shoulders and wrists; the collar was high, and some of the more extreme fashions pushed those shirt-points (the tips of the collar) higher and higher. As very little, if any, of the shirt itself showed, we’ll not bother with approximating this. A white button-down, with the collar turned up, will work nicely.
The shirt closed with buttons, but they were covered by the cravat. It was a wide piece of fine, white fabric, folded over and quite long (the one little G is wearing isn’t long enough). It wrapped around the neck several times before tying beneath the chin. For yours, get a long piece of white fabric, wrap around, and tie.
Regency gentlemen prided themselves on their dress. Beau Brummel, the epitome of men’s fashion, popularized simplicity in dress. Of course, compared to today, this is complicated. Remember, though, that this time period was preceded by the Georgian era, in which elaborately embroidered suits, dresses, capes, and hats (as well as lead-based paint for the faces!) were the norm in upper-class. So a suit of fine fabric, with only the waistcoat being embroidered, and a starched, snowy-white cravat (or neckcloth) are simple by comparison. A Regency gentlemen would spend a good amount of time achieving their intricately-tied knots, sometimes going through several of the pieces of white fabric before he was satisfied with it.
Over the shirt went the waistcoat, often elaborately embroidered and made of a variety of colors. A good way to cheat this is with a modern vest. You’ll have to pin up or cut off and hem the bottom points, though, as Regency waistcoats were straight at the waist, not pointed like today’s vests.
If you’re not going to show the whole body, a regular suit coat can stand in for a regency tailcoat. You could use it as-is, or amp it up a bit by adding a velvet collar or adjusting the bottom hems. Here, we just turned up the collar, as collars did not lay down against the coat during this period. Coats were long in back, unlike this one, and cut away at the hips to be only waist-length in front. (see the drawing in the beginning of this post)
You can fake fall-front breeches by taking a pair of slim-fitting khaki pants, cut them off below the knee (if you have riding boots to go with), and create a fall-front panel to fake it. Sew on some buttons, hooks or velcro to hold up the flap, and you have instant Regency breeches!
I hope you enjoyed a little adventure into the world of men’s Regency fashion, and I can’t wait to see your own #RegencySelfies!